Monday, January 14, 2013

Mondays with Martha

This advice works for both men and women:  

DATING (GROWNUP STYLE): The Art Of The First Date  

Here’s some advice on what you can do to have a successful first date.

1. The Smaller The Better
Small talk is the best way to start a date. Many people on a first date are nervous, self-conscious, and even insecure. Idle chatter lets you settle in, get comfortable, and get a sense of each other. Digging right in to personal things almost always leads to the beginning of the end.
Don't think this is wasted time. Talking about non-consequential (i.e., nonthreatening) topics will bring out your date's fundamental personality. You’ll see clues to their intelligence, well-roundedness, sense of humor, lifestyle and general interests. This is the stuff you’re going to live with every day, and it’s important.
2. Watch Your Moves
Your body language and communication skills speak volumes. Do you show confidence and interest by keeping eye contact? Do you smile and laugh, lean in to listen when they talk and show respect by using good manners (to him and to servers)? Again, this tells you tons about a person.                                                            
3. Nix The TMI (Too Much Information)
Context is huge. Sharing your illnesses or the details of a bankruptcy or divorce on the first date will most likely send them fleeing. Let them find out how kind, confident, brilliant and fun you are before laying out all the less than desirable facts about your life. When you share it on the second or third date, they can judge it in its proper context.
4. It's A 50/50 Proposition
The number one complaint from the women I coach is that men talk incessantly and don't ask enough questions about their date. Of course some women are guilty of this too.
I know you may be nervous and want to impress. Also, it's flattering to be asked about yourself and be in the company of an active listener. But please, don't over share. Make sure you give your date equal time to talk and ask questions about their life.
If you don't, you'll go home with memories of you talking about yourself. You'll probably feel foolish, and know nothing about your date. Hence, neither of you will want a second date.
5. Become A Master Of The Segue
Ladies, this is for you: Contrary to most women’s opinion, asking him about himself and letting him talk endlessly is not a way to attract him. While grownup men certainly look for deep connection in a partner, “someone who will hear my deepest thoughts” is far from first on their list.
How will he get to know you if you just listen to him all night? Leaving a man feeling like he revealed too much is a recipe for disaster. If he gets home feeling like he told you more than he would tell his best friend (which usually isn't much), you’re not getting a call for that next date.
If he is going on and on, gently transition the conversation back to you. Aim for a good balance by helping him pass the conversation ball. (This, of course, is a great skill for guys to learn too.)
6. Some Talking Points
When first getting to know each other, talk about what you like to do, where you like to vacation, where you’ve lived, what you love about your job/life/friends/community. This is where you should start as you date like a grownup.
Get a sense of your date's personality, intellect, and manner…and let them see yours. Then go home. I’ll bet you'll have more second dates!
 By Bobbi Palmer, Gazette Relationship Columnist 

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